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This Date in NHL History

Dec. 6: Gretzky scores five goals -- again

Plus: Millen gets third straight shutout; Lightning, Senators franchises born

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / Managing Editor


1987: If a five-goal night can be a ho-hum occurrence for anyone, it's Wayne Gretzky. He scores three times in the first period, and once each in the second and third to help the Edmonton Oilers defeat the Minnesota North Stars 10-4 at Northlands Coliseum.

It's the fourth five-goal game of Gretzky's NHL career, the most by a modern-era player (though Mario Lemieux of the Pittsburgh Penguins later equals his mark). Gretzky scores five times in a game twice in 1981 and again on Dec. 15, 1984. The five goals give Gretzky 25 for the season, moving him past Lemieux for the NHL lead.

Gretzky also has an assist on a goal by Esa Tikkanen 42 seconds into the first period for a six-point game.

Video: Wayne Gretzky all-time leader in goals, points



1932: The Cook brothers are too much for the Montreal Canadiens in the New York Rangers' 5-3 win at Madison Square Garden. Rangers captain Bill Cook scores two and assists on two others by his brother, Fred "Bun" Cook. The third member of their line, center Frank Boucher, finishes with three assists. All three earn induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

1952: Alex Delvecchio assists on goals by Reg Sinclair and Johnny Wilson in the Detroit Red Wings' 2-0 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks in a game played at Indianapolis. Terry Sawchuk gets the shutout in the first regular-season game was played outside an NHL city since 1928. Both teams' arenas are unavailable that night.


1977: The Los Angeles Kings set a team record by scoring six goals in the second period of a 6-1 road victory against the St. Louis Blues. Forward Mike Murphy scores twice in 17 seconds, then assists on the final goal of the period by Glenn Goldup.


1988: Greg Millen of the Blues makes 23 saves in a 3-0 victory against the North Stars for his third consecutive shutout. He's the first goalie since Tony Esposito of the Chicago Blackhawks in 1971-72 to have back-to-back-to-back shutouts. Millen finishes the season with an NHL-leading six shutouts and a 3.38 goals-against average.


1989: Kings defenseman Larry Robinson scores his 200th NHL goal and gets his 900th point in a 5-4 overtime victory against the Vancouver Canucks. Robinson becomes the first player in NHL history to score 200 goals without getting 20 in a single season at least once.


1990: The NHL stakes out new territory and returns to one of its former homes when Tampa Bay and Ottawa are awarded expansion franchises. The Tampa Bay Lightning and Ottawa Senators will make the NHL a 24-team league when they begin play in the 1992-93 season. The Lightning are the first NHL team to make its home in Florida; the new Senators bear the name of the team that wins the Stanley Cup six times before playing its last game in Ottawa in 1933-34.

Video: NHL awards expansion franchise to Ottawa


2001: Forward Gary Roberts and coach Pat Quinn each reaches a milestone when the Toronto Maple Leafs defeat the Rangers 6-3 at Madison Square Garden. Roberts gets his 12th NHL hat trick to become the sixth player in League history with 350 goals and 2,000 penalty minutes. The victory makes Quinn the seventh coach in NHL history with 500 career wins.


2005: The Philadelphia Flyers defeat the visiting Calgary Flames 1-0 in the first NHL game to be decided by a shootout after neither team scores during regulation time and overtime. Mike Richards scores the lone goal in the tiebreaker, and Philadelphia goalie Antero Niittymaki makes 28 saves through overtime and three more in the shootout.


2011: Goalie Mike Murphy of the Carolina Hurricanes is charged with the loss in the Calgary Flames' 7-6 victory at Scotiabank Saddledome despite not allowing a goal. Murphy relieves Cam Ward midway through the third period with the Hurricanes trailing 6-3. He makes two saves before being removed for an extra attacker, but Calgary's Jarome Iginla hits the empty net to make it 7-4. However, the Hurricanes score at 19:32 and 19:55, meaning that Murphy is charged with the loss. He is the first goalie in NHL history to earn a loss before allowing his first goal. Murphy makes seven saves without allowing a goal three days later against the Winnipeg Jets before being returned to the minor leagues. He finishes his NHL career with an 0-1-0 record, an 0.00 goals-against average and 1.000 save percentage.


2014: Mike Babcock becomes the 19th coach in NHL history to reach 500 wins when the Red Wings rally from two goals down to defeat the Rangers 3-2. Babcock's first 69 wins come with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim; the next 431 are with Detroit, where he coaches from 2005-15. He's the 18th NHL coach to reach 500 wins and the third to have worked with the Red Wings, joining Scotty Bowman and Bryan Murray.


2019: Nate Thompson makes history when he scores with 1:07 remaining in the third period to give the Canadiens a 2-1 win against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Thompson becomes the first Montreal player since the 1967 expansion to score a go-ahead goal against the Rangers in the final 90 seconds of regulation time.

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